It’s official, and previous reports are fully confimred: Keith Thurman will challenge Tim Tszyu for Tszyu’s WBO super welterweight title on Saturday, March 30, live on Amazon Prime Video pay-per-view.
It’s also mildly interesting to note that the 35-year-old Thurman is being positioned as the promotional A-side for the bout, despite being the title challenger and certainly not the rising star in the matchup.
If you’re wondering exactly what “promotional A-side” means, in theory it doesn’t mean a ton, but the social media hashtag for the bout is #ThurmanTszyu and not #TszyuThurman, for instance, which comes from the belief that Thurman is the bigger star.
In some ways, that may still be true, despite the fact that Thurman (30-1, 22 KO) hasn’t fought in two years and has just one fight in the last four-and-a-half years, and three in the last seven by the time he hits the ring to face the 29-year-old Tszyu (24-0, 17 KO).
The only thing it may do on the Tszyu side is further motivate the second-generation fighter, who could take it as a bit of a slight and/or a chance to prove he truly is the goods, a proper star in the making.
Tszyu, despite not getting a promised undisputed fight with Jermell Charlo, fought three times in 2023, stopping Tony Harrison and Carlos Ocampo before a hard-fought and clear decision win over Brian Mendoza, which saw Tszyu elevated from interim WBO champion to full recognition, shortly after Charlo was stripped of the WBO belt for fighting Canelo Alvarez at super middleweight. (But not before he was announced in the ring as the undisputed 154 lb champion, because that might have had a negative impact on marketing, and that’s what’s most important.)
The previously reported undercard is also fully official:
- Rolando Romero (15-1, 13 KO) will face Isaac Cruz (25-2-1, 17 KO) in a commercially strong chief support bout, with Romero defending the WBA 140 lb title. This could involve Ismael Barroso being given some step-aside money, as he is Romero’s mandatory, but that wouldn’t be too unusual for boxing. It also wouldn’t be too unusual for a sanctioning body to simply ignore its own rules, because Romero vs Cruz is worth a lot more money than Romero vs Barroso 2. Cruz is coming up from the 135 lb division.
- Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO) will defend his WBA middleweight title against Michael Zerafa (31-4, 19 KO), who has been sitting and waiting for his shot. The 40-year-old Lara hasn’t fought since May 2022, and his “middleweight title reign” has been about as empty as possible, starting with a vacant secondary title win over a guy called “Corn Flake” and followed by a dominant win over eternal fringe contender Spike O’Sullivan. Zerafa has won four in a row since losing a rematch with Jeff Horn in 2019, biding his time with domestic level fights, including a TKO-1 over an ancient Anthony Mundine, before finally getting his WBA shot.
- Sebastian Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KO) takes on Serhii Bohachuk (23-1, 23 KO) in what has a very high chance of being the show-stealer bout. Fundora is usually quite fun to watch, as is Bohachuk, and there could be plenty of action here. Bohachuk, 28, is finally getting onto a proper “big stage” after spending years on smaller shows. It’s kind of make-or-break for him in this one.